Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Houseminding in Glebe VI

Tuesday: day 12 of 12

Hola jet-setters,
thanks once again for the use of your place, I loved being there although, actually, I was hardly ever there.

Coupla things:
  • I chucked the keys back through the letterbox, hope you found them.
  • On Saturday I heard a thump from upstairs - the picture had fallen off the wall and tumbled to the floor, taking out the little chest of drawers and some bracelets. The little china box, miraculously, didn't break (ok perhaps not miraculously - luckily?).
  • Couldn't work out how to water the back garden - EMBARRASSED. Did the under-cover bits this morning with a saucepan. I *did* water the ones on the porch.
  • There is a load of sheets in the washing machine that needs drying. I cleaned the towels and bathmats that are in the bathroom.
  • I didn't end up using any of your food or drink, except some margarine and sugar - and not at the same time.
  • I thought it was too risky to open the back gate so I left the recycling in the kitchen. I walked my little bag of rubbish out the back before I left. (Too awkward to do this with the paper and glass)
  • I ended up only using the big computer in the living area, and only really to surf the web. I tried to work on my "movie" but stalled right at the beginning.
  • I had a series of #fails last night which meant I couldn't make the cake I was going to leave as a thank you - so IOU 1 Claudia Roden orange cake, ok?
Well that's eight. Let's catch up soon!

moikl xxx


Houseminding in Glebe V

Friday: day 8 of 12
Erm.. oh yeah. No. Um. Dragged ma lazy slut body out of bed, watched a baby huntsman in the bathroom, drank coffee, went  on the internet. Mornings have a pattern here.

Went to three Xmas parties, the last one just up the road at the Different Drummer. I used to go here in my courting days, which I don't really recall.

Saturday: day 9 of 12
I wake up late. I seem to have all my clothes on. It is surprisingly comfortable sleeping with one's shoes on. I don't feel too bad, but I probably can't string two words together. Sadly, no one asks me to.

I go up and have breakfast at Mano. I have a toasted ham cheese and tomato croissant, some mineral water, and a long black. They make good coffee. I read one of the Australian's inserts, then I order a 2nd breakfast - Turkish toast with peanut butter, and another coffee. Tap water this time. I stop being hungry but am not any less stupid.

I spend the day at the house, doing nothing. I had PLANS! Ruined by having fun! My Xmas card would be late this year. I manage a rough sketch, on the back of my registration confirmation for tomorrow's swim. At about 4pm a loud noise from upstairs - a picture has torn its hook from the wall! This is the most exciting thing to happen here all week.

Quiet evening watching tv at the ex's. I am a little less stupid, though not perceptibly to others.

Sunday: day 10 of 12
Coffee and the last of my "organic honey" on a dry sandwich, is breakfast. *Carb-loading*for my swim today, man. I pack a banana too, to eat a little later. I leave the house, reflecting that I'm only ever here to wake up, or go to sleep. Or, like yesterday, somewhere in-between.

After the swim (1.5km at Bilgola; time: 30:07; place: 148/317) Dave drops me off outside. First thing's first: I make some coffee and look at Facebook.

I shower and change and douse myself with a litre or two of Acqua di Giò from the barrel in the bathroom cupboard. I look and smell so pretty! I go to a farewell at the Welcome Hotel in Balmain. A lesbian compliments me on my shirt.

TV at Clare's, we watch 3 episodes of Season 3 TrueBlood! Buttock count: 37.

Monday: day 11 of 12
I have only got up early ONCE while in this house, to go to Canberra. Maybe it's the sound of raindrops on the roof that is so soporific? Maybe it's staying up until 2am every night?

So laying in bed, listening to the pitter patter, I read a text from Liesel crying off from dinner tonight. I am secretly glad as somehow I had double-booked having Liesel over with CLEANING THE HOUSE AND PACKING ON MY LAST NIGHT.

I go downstairs, make coffee, wash the dishes, get dressed and write an email to Jenny Smith. I notice the Herald's TV guide, unread on the coffee table, and meditate on the fond and foolish hopes I had held at the beginning of my stay, imagining cosy nights in watching tv. I haven't switched the box on once. I probably can't, I've forgotten Deb's instructions. I looked around, and see the clutter and disarray I have made, and really *really* hope Deb's email had got it right when she said they'd be returning tomorrow. I would hate to come back to all this. Except I will be, tonight. Sigh.

Later: epic series of fails this arvo. TWO false alarms at work, forgot my keys, forgot to bring a laptop home, stayed too late, shopping fail, eftpos fail, cake fail, dinner fail, club newsletter fail, gin and tonic fail - dispiriting. But I have packed, and swept, and put the mail neatly on the coffee table, and got some laundry done, so ready for a 4.30 wake up call, eh!

Houseminding in Glebe IV

Thursday: day 7 of 12
Um... oh yeah. This morning I cooked those sausages I bought in Canberra, now or never. I ate two for breakfast, and cleaned the bbq. Like I knew I would. It was great, I thought, bbqing before work, this is great! Then I went to work smelling of bbq'd pork fat.

And I WALKED to work!

Thursday was my night at home, watching tv FINALLY and, you know, having a bit of "me" time. Hi stranger, how you doin'? Yeah, no. I went to dinner at my last houseminding gig, and said hello to the cat there, and listened to 3 months of overseas travel stories, and drank gin and ate. And then it was early, so I went to Alex and Lars's gig at some boîte on Crown Street, where the beers were $8 (note to future reader - expensive, but not criminally) and the first act was a nicely made up girl juggling (note to future reader - is she, as I imagined she might in 40 years, mouldering in a mental institution?)

Houseminding in Glebe III

Wednesday: Day 6 of 12
I saw a dead leaf under the front door as I walked from the hall into my dressing room, and I thought, "I must sweep the dead leaves out of the front pebble-garden". I was passing a built-in hall cupboard and I thought, "I wonder if the broom to sweep up dead leaves from the front garden is in there?" I opened the cupboard and it was full of BLANKETS.

I put a load of washing on when I realised I had no clean undies (I had to wear my emergency pair again today). I used soap flakes! I have never used them in a washing machine. I felt like my grandma, except alive. There is borax too, for my whites, but I think if I use it, my whites will be sent back 140 years in time, and will come out all yellowed and Miss Haversham-like.

No luck with parking this time, had to stop in a 1-hour parking zone and move the car later. Except I FORGOT. No ticket luckily when I went finally to move it to another 1-hour spot, before my lunchtime swim. On my return it I saw a nearby free-time spot and ran and fumbled with my keys like Audrey Hepburn in "Wait Until Dark", and there it's staying tonight, as I'm catching the bus in to see Tony and an AADA student play. I honestly never thought *parking* would be an issue during my stay in Glebe.
Home again, remembered as I came in the door and saw a Xmas card in the letter slot, that I don't have long to make my Xmas card! Let alone the Geralaina Xmas party movie. I want some cocoa but too full from a disgusting "Wagyu beef" burger from the Criterion on Park Street. I drink a lot of water instead. I sit at the huge computer screen and look at Facebook and play scrabble, and follow links from twitter, and email David about the Ocean swim on Sunday, and browse some other websites. I stay up late! Late enough for my stomach to settle and allow me my cocoa, which in my amusing twitter quips last night I called Some Enchanted Evening. I might have had gin on the rocks but there was no ice. No ice!*

It's been raining all day. It's still raining. I'm staying here to water the plants. I'm here under FALSE PRETENCES.

*There was ice.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Houseminding in Glebe II

Tuesday: Day 5 of 12
I wake up feeling not exhausted, at a normal time. I shower, and make a coffee. I have an hour to spare before I need to leave for work. I feel like life is getting back on track. I play scrabble on Facebook. I look at twitter and follow interesting links. I write to Jenny Smith. I write how I *must* cook the enormous rump steak, which I had planned for 2 or 3 meals, and which I bought in Canberra, tonight, or it will be Too Late. Though the sailing club committee meeting I am attending at the Taxi Club tonight might be an impediment. I drive to work, and find someone leaving a spot as I arrive in Arundel Street.

I finish work at 6 and park the car in front of the house. There's been a spot there each time, though sometimes the car in the spot in front, which is next to a giant fig tree, parks 5 foot out from the kerb. There are two items of mail in the front yard, scattered. I feel this is my fault for closing the mail flap this morning on my way out. There are a lot of fallen leaves. I wonder how difficult it would be to sweep the low maintenance pebble parterre clear of them. I go inside, drop the mail on the pile behind the door, go into the lounge room, empty my back pack of my so-far-this-week-unused swimming gear, then head up St John's Road to the fruttivendolo. I have heard good things about this place and I am pleased to say they had not only a great variety of fruit and veg, but unusual varieties of, for example, tomatoes, and potatoes! There were Nicola, which I had never heard of, and Bernadette, which I remembered from my childhood last century. I bought English spinach and onions, giant bananas, and from the Foodworks bread and milk.

I feel like a glass of wine but I have none, so I drink some water. I unlock the back door, for the first time, and the back gate. It takes me a while, in the dark, to work out there is bolt that needs to be drawn. There is a light over the bbq, and I put the onions on to fry with a spot of oil. I get the steak from the fridge. I unseal the plastic and try not to think about what the smell I can smell might mean. I decide to take a risk, and put the steak on the grill. I stand there, stirring the onions, wishing I had a glass of wine to drink, but I don't, so instead I drink large glasses of water, which later in my amusing Twitter quips I call Chaste Bachelors. 

So I use the bbq, and I think I will clean it later as I pull the lid down, and I certainly mean to clean it, it would be terrible not to. And I go inside and spoon on the spinach I had steamed, next to the giant piece of grilled rump steak piled high with brown fried onions, and I get the salt and pepper cellars, neither of which grind really well, and I eat my dinner at the dining table, which is otherwise covered with clutter from my back-pack - busy-bag clutter, not swimming gear clutter - and read my book.

Then I do the dishes. And after I stay up late - to midnight - on the internet. Facebook and twitter and gmail. The History function on the Firefox browser is turned off - nothing is recorded - so every time I want a web-page I must type the whole of the address, or find out the address from a Google search! I consider turning the History function on, and I recall all those websites I've looked at but haven't mentioned here, and I decide not to turn the History on.

I go up to bed. It's cold - damn you la Niña! - and I need blankets. I go down to my dressing room and look in the cupboards, but they are full of Christmas decorations and copies of Deb's books and camping gear. I gingerly open some of the larger drawers a crack in the bijou dressers upstairs, and I glimpse baseball hats (in the male dresser) and pink knitted wool (in the female) but no blankets. I put on my polo-fleece vest as a jarmie top again and snuggle up with Mrs Ames anyway. She is my book. After I turn the light out I lay there an hour, not falling asleep, not getting warm. My pulse is slow. I am no furnace.

I forgot to mention that cute guy across the road!

Houseminding In Glebe

Friday: Day 1 of 12
I come in late and stonkered after an unusually long day at work and dinner at the Eathouse Diner. I have brought, a suitcase packed for the weekend and the bag of extra toiletries. I wish I could travel light for all my house-minds, but actually I'm going away for the weekend: I'll be back on Sunday night.

I am dismayed: the place is immaculate. Proper clean at the end of my stay will be in order. Deb had protested of course that the place would be filthy. Ha!

I brush my teeth and go straight upstairs to the cosy dormer bedroom. I admire the cotton coverlet, decorated with lavender roses, and strip, fall into bed and fall asleep.

Saturday: Day 2 of 12
Off to Canberra. Up at 5am and out by 5.40. I have a shower and am concerned at how steamy the little bathroom gets. Glebe slumbers as I drive off into the waxing day. I get lost and my friend Sally must wait for me, but that's another story. A fine day... the last.

Sunday: Day 3 of 12
Rain accompanies me home to Sydney, and stays for a week.

Stopped in at my sister's (my house-mind "resting") on way back and pick up the rest of my things - clothes, kitchen, computer, cameras... at Glebe, unload the car and fill the small front room with this essential impedimenta. The house smells like my shampoo. Am I going to Clare's for tv? Much incomprehensible texting. I check my Facebook on the huge computer screen. Later, after dinner with Clare and her mum and auntie, I nearly fall asleep on Clare's Jason recliner, and later still drop straight into bed when I get back here. Yes I don't think I even brushed my teeth.

Monday: Day 4 of 12
I get up late, and shower - the steam is a concern again - I spy a vent high up under the ceiling, it looks like it has moving parts hiding behind it - I find the switch at last, it is in the bathroom cupboard. Who knew. I shave my 12 day growth off with two blunt razors. I look less dashing, younger and fatter. It is novel to look in a mirror while shaving, it is not so novel looking less dashing and fatter. The last house-mind had no bathroom mirror. People's houses are all different and interesting.

I start a shopping list. No "lazy coffee at a cafe on the walk to work" for me! I drive to work - because the street outside is 2 hour parking only, but so is the street around the corner, and the next one down, and all the streets in Glebe. The nearest free parking is in Arundel Street, which is where I park when I go to work anyway. Incredibly, there is a free space at 9am. At 9.02 I am in the office.

Twelve and a half hours later I leave work, it's wet and windy and rainy, I do NOT ride my bike home, as planned. Plus I must eat, so I drive home, eating takeaway on the way, like in an Edward Hopper painting (I fondly imagine). I worry about the steak I bought in Canberra on Saturday, but it's just too late and wet to bbq it tonight. I get home, pick up some mail hiding behind one of the pots on the porch; inside I brush my teeth (praise God!) and go to bed.

I reflect that I am not spending much time in this lovely little house. I reflect that Deb's instructions on how to run the air-conditioning are probably not going to come in handy as I zip up my polar-fleece vest and, huddling under the light coverlet - embroidered with lavender roses -  and cotton blanket, hug an embroidered pillow to my chilly chest.